Not a fan of iOS? Discover the best Android phones for all budgets and find out how to choose the right model for you.

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Which is the better operating system – Android or iOS? It’s a question that inspires plenty of debate, but there’s no denying Android offers its users a wider range of smartphone options.

Rather than being married to one type of phone the way iOS users are, Android devotees can choose from a range of models from manufacturers like Samsung, Google and Oppo.

RELATED: Portable chargers to keep your gadgets running

With so many options to pick from though, choosing a new Android phone can be a little overwhelming, as everyone has different needs and budgets. That’s where we come in.

Below, you’ll find our pick of the top eight Android phones currently on the market, based both on our own knowledge and experience with the products and real customer reviews.

Please note that listed prices are a base figure only and may differ depending on the storage options you select.

Jump to: The 8 best Android phones for 2022

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST ANDROID PHONE

Before choosing a new handset, there are a number of factors you may want to consider. If you’re simply looking for the best option money can buy, you should look to high-end contenders like Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra or Google’s Pixel 6 Pro. Those on a budget can meanwhile scoop up a budget or mid-tier option, such as Samsung’s Galaxy A53 or Google’s Pixel 6, which are great for everyday use.

Screen resolution, processing power, battery life and camera capabilities are also things to think about as you compare models. The size of the phone should also factor in, as some models may be too big to fit in your pocket or to use one-handed, while others may be too small to play games or complete work tasks on.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, Amazon Australia, from $1,999

Screen size: 6.8-inch
OS:
Android 12

CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
RAM:
8GB/12GB
Storage:
128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB

If you’re looking for the best possible Android experience, Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra is the way to go. Borrowing the best parts of both the Galaxy S21 Ultra and the Galaxy Note, the Galaxy S22 Ultra offers a large 6.8-inch display, built-in S Pen stylus, adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz and a four-lens camera with 10x optical zoom and up to 100x digital zoom.

The S22 Ultra also improves upon the low light photography of its predecessors, offering advanced ‘Nightography’ features that let you to snap crisp, clear images and videos, regardless of the time of day. There’s also the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, which provides impressive AI and ML processing, along with an excellent multi-tasking experience.

It is let down slightly by its average battery life, but the S22 Ultra remains the top option for Android users – even if its perks come at a rather hefty price.

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Samsung Galaxy A53, Samsung, $699

Screen size:6.5-inch
OS:
Android 12

CPU: Exynos 1280
RAM:
6GB
Storage:
128GB

If you can’t afford to splash out on Samsung’s Galaxy S22 range, the Galaxy A53 offers a great user experience at a much more accessible price. Boasting a generous 6.5-inch Infinity O display, a 120Hz refresh rate and expandable storage, the mid-range device has plenty of solid features.

A quad-camera system with a 64MP main camera and 32MP front camera offers a decent photo experience, though don’t expect it to stand up to the systems on higher-end models. The 5,000mAh battery and Exynos 1280 chipset are also reasonable, even if they aren’t top-of-the-line.

The software is meanwhile better than expected for a budget model, with the A53 running on the same One UI 4.1 that you can find on the Galaxy S22. Overall, it is a value for money option that’s ideal for general day to day use.

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Samsung Galaxy S22, The Good Guys, from $1,249

Screen size:6.1-inch
OS:
Android 12

CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
RAM:
8GB
Storage:
128GB/256GB

For a long time, smartphones were becoming increasingly smaller, but the trend has since reversed, with larger displays reigning supreme. Now, it’s difficult to find a smaller Android phone, which can make stowing them in your pocket a real pain. Samsung’s Galaxy S22 offers a nice change of pace, with its 6.1-inch screen managing to be both generous and convenient.

Design-wise, the Galaxy S22 is practically identical to Samsung’s Galaxy S21 range but with some notable upgrades. Similar to the S21 range, the S22 features a wide, ultrawide and 3x optical zoom lens on the rear. This time, though, it also arrives with a 50MP pro-grade camera, a longer-lasting battery and a larger sensor made for improved lowlight shots.

It is also significantly cheaper than the Galaxy S22 Ultra, despite having some of the same features, making it a compact alternative at a great price.

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Google Pixel 6 Pro, Vodafone, from $1,299

Screen size:6.7-inch
OS:
Android 12

CPU: Google Tensor
RAM:
12GB
Storage:
128GB/256GB/512GB

Arriving with a slate of impressive features and a price that undercuts its high-end rivals, the Pixel 6 Pro has finally seen Google enter the big leagues. The large 6.7-inch QHD+ display packs a punch, delivering both vibrant colours and spectacular detail, while the cameras are easily the best seen on a Pixel phone so far.

Sporting a 50MP main sensor, a 12MP ultra-wide, a 48MP telephoto lens and AI-led image processing, photos on the Pixel 6 Pro come out in vivid colour with exceptional clarity. The phone also comes with a Magic Eraser tool which successfully removes unwanted people or objects from your image backgrounds without much fuss, which we found to be incredibly handy.

There’s also the Google Tensor chipset, which offers smooth performance and plenty of smart capabilities, even if it doesn’t quite stand up to the top Android chipsets on the market. With its 120HZ refresh rate too though, the Pixel 6 Pro offers a fast and smooth user experience, along with a camera system that bests almost every other Android phone on the market.

Read more: Google Pixel 6 Pro hands on review.

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, Samsung, from $2,499

Screen size:7.6-inch
OS:
Android 11

CPU: Snapdragon 888
RAM:
12GB
Storage:
256GB/512GB

If you’re into mobile gaming or reading ebooks, Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 3 could be for you. Folding out to a huge 7.6-inch display, the tablet-like device offers more display space than a standard smartphone, giving you plenty of room to multitask or boot up the next novel on your reading list.

It also has some laptop-like features, including the ability to pin your favourite apps to a Taskbar, which then appears on the side display in any app so you can quickly toggle between tasks. You can also draw, handwrite notes and more with either the S Pen Fold Edition or S Pen Pro, though you do have to buy them separately which is disappointing at this price point.

The overall camera quality is good, even if it isn’t groundbreaking, with a 12MP main camera, a 12MP ultrawide camera and a 12MP telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom. The design won’t be for everyone, but it’s easily the best foldable phone available and probably the only one worth the purchase at this point.

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Oppo Find X5 Pro, The Good Guys, $1,799

Screen size:6.7-inch
OS:
Android 12

CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1

RAM: 12GB
Storage:
256GB

The recently released Oppo Find X5 Pro has been quick to impress reviewers, thanks to its stunning 6.7-inch display and powerful camera capabilities. Building on the design of the Find X3 Pro, the Find X5 Pro offers the same curved glass display and a punch hole front camera, though the camera configuration on the rear is slightly different.

The X5 Pro has also been upgraded to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, bringing it into line with other high-end Android phones launched in 2022 and giving it a fast and smooth performance. Fitted with a large 5,000mAh battery, the battery life is better than some of its rivals, though you will still need to charge it daily.

Images can be a little overprocessed and the zoom camera could be better, but it’s otherwise a highly impressive model that gives other top Android phones a run for their money.

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Realme GT 2 Pro, eBay Australia, from $1,258

Screen size:6.7-inch

OS: Android 12

CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1

RAM: 8GB/12GB
Storage:
128GB/256GB/512GB

It may not be the most well known name on the Australian market, but Realme is finally giving Aussies a reason to pay attention. While the brand usually produces budget-friendly phones, the GT 2 Pro is its first foray into the premium space, making the model something of an underdog.

Fitted with a 6.7-inch 2K display and the same processor as found on its biggest competitors, the model offers both a nice design and surprisingly snappy performance. It also sports a decent 50MP main camera and a 5,000mAh battery with fast charging support.

It does lack the wireless charging capabilities found on many other models in this price range and it’s not easy to find in Australia – so you won’t be able to pop down to your local electronics store and snap one up. If you’re happy to shop online though, the model is a great mid-range option with plenty of features to love.

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Google Pixel 6, Harvey Norman, from $999

Screen size:6.4-inch
OS:
Android 12

CPU: Google Tensor
RAM:
8GB
Storage:
128GB/256GB

Powered by the Google Tensor chipset, the Google Pixel 6 offers many of the same premium features as the Pixel 6 Pro, but in a more pocket-friendly size. Both have the same software, the same handy photo features like Magic Eraser and a 1/1.3 inch sensor on the back, which captures more light and brings greater colour accuracy to photos.

The models do differ in a few areas though, the most notable of which is the size. The Pixel 6 arrives with a 6.4-inch OLED display (compared to the Pixel 6 Pro’s 6.7-inch screen), which is much easier to stow in a pocket or handbag. The Pixel 6 also offers 8GB of RAM to the Pixel 6 Pro’s 12GB and a lower refresh rate of up to 90Hz (compared to the Pixel 6 Pro’s up to 120Hz).

It does has just two cameras on the rear, where the Pixel 6 Pro gets three, but the image quality remains impressive. Ultimately, the Pixel 6 Pro is the more advanced model, but the Pixel 6 is the phone to get if you want a value for money option that is more conveniently-sized.

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IS ANDROID BETTER THAN iOS?

When it comes to the Android vs. iOS debate, most of us picked a side a long time ago. And it has less to do with which is ‘better’ and more to do with personal preference. If you haven’t already pledged an allegiance to either side though, or are thinking about switching things up, here’s what you need to know.

Android is the most common smartphone platform and is used by a number of major smartphone brands including Samsung, Oppo, Huawei and Google. iOS is meanwhile exclusive to Apple – so you had better like iPhones if you want to use it. As Apple is a top-tier vendor with products that rarely go on sale, its hardware is on the pricier end of the spectrum, so you will likely end up paying more to use iOS. Android phones meanwhile come in a range of different price brackets, giving you a wider variety of smartphones to choose from.

Continuity features are where iOS gets a real advantage. Apple deliberately designs its products so you can carry over work and data from one of its devices to another, giving you a seamless and timesaving experience. Just one example of this is its Continuity Camera, which lets you snap a picture or scan a document on your iPhone and have it appear on your Mac for viewing, editing or printing.

Apple also retains total control of iOS, so software updates are faster and are automatically applied to all supported phones. On the other hand, Google supplies the base operating system for Android. It is then up to the specific phone manufacturer to roll out the changes, which means you could be waiting longer for a new update or patch.

Android meanwhile takes the lead when it comes to voice assistants, with options like the Google Assistant offering more capabilities than iPhone’s Siri. Given that you can get the Google Assistant on iPhone, this isn’t a great reason to choose one operating system over the other, but it does offer an easier experience right out of the box. Android is more PC-like than iOS though, which is a bonus as it makes smartphone interfaces much more customisable than iPhone.

Ultimately, there are pros and cons of each operating system, making it worth doing a deep dive before deciding which one to go for. Despite what those in either camp tell you though, both systems are easy to use, even if you haven’t had previous experience with them.

Looking for more great gadgets? Head to our Best Of electronics section to see more product reviews and guides. You can also sign up to our Best Of shopping newsletter to stay on top of all the latest sales or see our news.com.au Coupons page for a list of current tech deals and offers.

Lauren is news.com.au’s Best Of consumer technology writer. She previously worked at comparison site Finder as the senior shopping writer where she reported on everything from tech gadgets to the latest home products. Prior to cutting her teeth as a journalist, she completed a Bachelor of journalism at the University of South Australia and worked as a media advisor for JB Hi-Fi where she sold the very products she now writes about.

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